I’m still in Argentina, which means I’m not going to waste your time by trying to introduce Rebecca Roland. You’re about to meet her, and she’s rather awesome. Though I think she may not have been entirely honest in some of her answers…
You’ve got a story out in Uncle John’s Flush Fiction. How does it feel to know people are reading you from the toilet?
It’s been gratifying knowing that people are reading my story in what is arguably the most important room in the house. Think about it. If you don’t have a kitchen, you could always go out to eat. No bedroom? No problem! There’s always the couch. Or the floor, if you really must. But if you didn’t have a bathroom, you’d have to resort to an outhouse, the neighbor’s azalea bush, or traipsing down the street to the convenience store where you have to beg the clerk for the key dangling from a huge block of wood.
You work as a physical therapist; what experience from your day job do you bring to your fiction?
Well, I’m not sure I should admit this, but… I collect patients’ tears in a special bottle and then use them later to make offerings to the muses. It’s how I overcame a horrible case of writer’s block back in 2002. Also, if you mix the tears with a little mud from the backyard of someone who won the Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, then it makes a great facial moisturizer. Takes at least five years off. I’m really 70 years old, but everybody thinks I’m merely pushing 40.
Also, I spend an inordinate amount of time on paperwork and on the phone with insurance companies trying to get visits approved for patients. It results in my head meeting the desk quite often, which formed a huge callous over time. People tried not to stare at it, but I could totally tell they were looking. Anyway, I woke up one morning after a particularly busy day of banging my head against my desk to find that I’d grown a unicorn horn. I loved it at first. What girl doesn’t dream of being a unicorn? But I couldn’t fit in the car, and I ripped a bunch of t-shirts trying to pull them over my head before I realized what a pain it is to have a huge, spiraled horn protruding from one’s forehead. So I sawed it off. But it left an invisible callous that protects my forehead, so when I bang my head against my desk at home because I’m working on a scene that just won’t gel, I get the satisfaction of making noise without the associated pain. Also, I won the annual Head Butting Contest last year. Knocked the other gal right out. She’s still in a coma.
You had a book come out in August. Tell us about that.
I’d love to tell one of those stories about how I belted out Shards of History in one week like Nora Roberts did with her first novel, but it was actually more awesome than that. I woke up one morning to find the complete manuscript on my laptop, and a note from the elves who wrote it. It absolutely did not take years of hard work, rewrites, revisions, and blood, sweat, and tears to produce it. And no matter what anybody tells you, I certainly did nothing as undignified as squeal in excitement and jump up and down when it came out.
Prepare yourselves for some shameless novel promotion in the next two paragraphs….
Like all Taakwa, Malia fears the fierce winged creatures known as Jeguduns who live in the cliffs surrounding her valley. When the river dries up and Malia is forced to scavenge farther from the village than normal, she discovers a Jegudun, injured and in need of help. Malia’s existence–her status as clan mother in training, her marriage, her very life in the village–is threatened by her choice to befriend the Jegudun. But she’s the only Taakwa who knows the truth: that the threat to her people is much bigger and much more malicious than the Jeguduns who’ve lived alongside them for decades. Lurking on the edge of the valley is an Outsider army seeking to plunder and destroy the Taakwa, and it’s only a matter of time before the Outsiders find a way through the magic that protects the valley–a magic that can only be created by Taakwa and Jeguduns working together.
What’s your next career goal?
Complete world domination, starting with publishing more short stories and novels, becoming eligible to join SFWA, and inserting a subliminal message in all of my work that will create an inexplicable addiction in those who read it. Readers won’t be able to help themselves. They’ll form lines days ahead of when movies based on my novels come out, dress as my characters, and flock to stores to snatch up all related merchandise. And then I’ll retire to my own private island somewhere in the Caribbean and sip fruity drinks all day. You know, the kind with umbrellas in them.